Crawley boss Dean Saunders is putting 50 points as the safety benchmark in the quest for his side to beat the drop. The Reds picked up their second 3-2 away victory at Port Vale on Tuesday and now lie just 2 points from safety. Crawley host relegation rivals Leyton Orient on Saturday in another 6 pointer where either side could lift their selves to safety with a win.
Saunders spoke after the victory at Vale, saying:
“It was good to get 3 goals away from home, we played well, right through the middle of them time and time again“.
His side conceded the first goal once more on Tuesday, the 22nd time this season and Saunders was a frustrated man.
“Sometimes it is a frustrating job as a football manager, it is sole destroying, we even talked about it for half an hour going through every little bit of detail on the goal“.
Goals from Izale McLeod and Richard Wood gave Crawley the victory after the break, “we started the game badly and conceded the worst goal ever but I had a go at them at half time” Saunders stated. With Coventry winning away at Fleetwood, Saunders understands how important every game is “it is a tough game Saturday, I have watched them several times thinking they will pick up but they haven’t. We need to make sure it is not on Saturday”.
In one of the closest relegation battles in recent years, Saunders has named 50 points as the safety benchmark.”Everyone is playing everyone, 3 wins and a result, you shouldn’t get relegated on 50 points”. Statistics seem to back up the 50 points benchmark but with 10 games remaining only 14 points separates Crawley in 21st and Barnsley in 6th.
Orient picked up what could be a valuable point against Barnsley on Tuesday night but could have won the game but found Tykes keeper Adam Davies in fine form. Fabio Liverani spoke after the draw
“It was a good match, I was happy with my team but not lucky tonight. We should have scored but weren’t clinical enough in front of goal”.
The draw came with another clean sheet for Orient and Liverani was happy “with the professional nature of the team; attacking and defending with all 11 players”.
Midfielder Bradley Pritchard spoke after the game commenting on the defence:
“Clean sheets bring confidence especially at this time of the year. Every point counts”
- Orient 4 clean sheets in last 6 games
- Conceded only 4 goals in those games – 3 against league leaders Bristol City
- Orient’s goal difference is better other sides in the relegation which could be key at the end of the season
Orient will travel to Crawley with the Red Devils 7th in the form table over the last 10 games with Liverani aware of the importance of the game. “Total importance on game, all games are important, we go in confident. Some teams win, some lose and some are being caught“. After wins for the bottom sides in recent weeks, Scunthorpe, Crewe and Notts County have been dragged back into the mix with 3 points separating Scunthorpe in 17th and Crawley in 21st.
Pritchard and Liverani both spoke about the amount of chances the O’s created saying:
“We tried to create as much as possible, it was frustrating not to put the ball in the back of the net. Positive that we are creating chances and looking threatening“.
Pritchard spoke about the level experience the O’s have in the side and it could be pivotal right till the end of the season. “We have had pressure on us all season in different sorts, the experience in the side will help in the long run”. Orient face bad memories of their trips to Crawley losing both trips they have made their. Orient picked up their first win against the Red Devils with a 4-1 victory on Boxing Day and “will need to go again, it is a massive game” stated Prichard.
- O’s record against bottom 8 – P10 – W4, D2, L4. Picked up 14 from possible 30 points
- Crawely’s record against bottom 8 – P9 – W2, D4, L3. Picked up 10 from possible 27 points
Crawley will look for goals through Izale McLeod who has netted 15 this term including 2 in his last 2. Anthony Wordsworth will be the man to watch after scoring one and creating the other two goals at Vale. “We are creating chances, disappointed not to score more but we have to take our momentum into Orient” he said after the Port Vale win. Crawley have struggled defensively with defender Richard Wood hailing the character his side showed after coming from behind in their last 2 wins.
“Conceded 2 bad goals but we rallied showing the character in the dressing room and played some good stuff in the end. If we do stuff right and don’t concede stupid goals we will be fine“
- Only Crewe (67) have conceded more goals than Crawley (64)
- Home record P18 – W6, D6, L6 F23 A29 – 24 points
- In the 6 losses at home conceded 21 goals – conceding 2 or more in each of the games
- Gained 16 points before Christmas at home
- But only picked up 8 points from last 6 games at home
The game could have a big impact on the relegation battle but Orient will be without Kevin Lisbie who recently joined Stevenage on a one month loan deal. Bradley Pritchard says the veteran striker will be missed, “he is a massive character and is a shame he is not in the dressing room”. Liverani also spoke about changes could be made despite positive results, “we will see how players have recovered but likely to be changes with third game in 8 days, changes are needed”.
Orient are made favourites ahead of the clash being 21/20 at William Hill, Crawley are 9/4 and draw is 12/5. Both teams will not want to lose the game with how tight it is down the bottom of League 1. Both teams to score and a draw remain 16/5 at William Hill.